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Thursday, 17 February, 2000, 17:50 GMT
Bullied girl taken out of school
amie and mother
Amie, back home: "They called me names"
A 13-year-old girl who was assigned a teacher to protect her from bullies has been withdrawn from school by her parents.

Amie Salmon, from Nottingham, says she was called names again when she arrived at school on Thursday morning after being featured in news reports and giving interviews on radio and television.

amie
Amie had use of a mobile phone to summon help
Her mother, Michelle, says she will not be going back until her tormentors are expelled.

The school's headteacher says it has been difficult to get at the facts of the case but he will be investigating the allegations against eight girls and there could be exclusions as a result.

Amie, who attends Glaisdale Comprehensive in Bilborough, Nottingham, says she has been tormented for more than a year by a gang of other girls.

In response, the school assigned a teacher to her, to be available throughout the day if she felt she needed protection.

She was also given a mobile phone to call for help if she felt threatened - the phone she used to call her mother on Thursday morning.

michelle salmon
Michelle Salmon: "It's not her fault"
Mrs Salmon went to collect her. Back at home, she said her daughter would not be returning to school until the bullies were suspended.

A tearful Amie said: "I went to school and everyone was, like, calling me - like calling me names and everything.

"Then the teacher who is meant to be my bodyguard, looking after me, said: 'I can't protect you no more'."

Mrs Salmon said: "She shouldn't have to put up with any of this. She has done nothing wrong. She's a victim."

tim moralee
Tim Moralee: "Exclusion a possiblity"
The headteacher, Tim Moralee, told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that the allegations were brought to the attention of the school's senior management only three weeks ago.

"What we did was to say to Amie, in order to make her feel secure in school, we would make available to her at any time she needed it, her form tutor."

He agreed that it was "a reasonable stance to take" that it was the bullies who should be dealt with in such a case - but it had been difficult to get at the facts.

He said "the evidence base has grown" through seeking anonymous information from other pupils. That would be assessed and appropriate action would be taken.

Amie told BBC Radio 4's Today programme early on Thursday that she was picked on "because I'm smaller and thinner than the rest of the girls."

She said for a year she had been called names and sometimes hit by a gang of girls.

Out of classes

Mrs Salmon told the programme she was unhappy with the situation because the bullies had not been suspended from school, while her daughter had been taken out of normal lessons.

"Amie is the one being punished - the bullies are still in lessons," she said. "She hasn't done anything wrong."

Mrs Salmon said other girls had also been suffering but had been too afraid to speak out. Amie was the one who had given the names of the bullies to the school staff.

She claimed it was a case of organised bullying, with a ringleader encouraging others.

parents
Parents want the bullies expelled
"What they are doing is mentally cruel."

But Gaby Shenton of the charity Kidscape said she was surprised at the action the school was taking - which could make matters worse by singling Amie out.

And the Shadow Education Secretary, Theresa May, said teachers' time should not be taken up acting as bodyguards to pupils.

Target

"Schools should be free to exclude pupils and implement their own policies on discipline without interference," she said.

"This sort of thing could very well increase if schools are prevented from excluding disruptive and unruly pupils."

The government has set a target of reducing the numbers of pupils excluded from schools by one third by 2002.

  • The same school was at the centre of a row in 1996 when teachers threatened to go on strike after an independent appeals panel overturned the expulsion of a violently disruptive 13-year-old boy.

    The strike was called off after the boy's parents agreed to his being educated partly in a referral unit for pupils with behavioural problems, and partly at home by a tutor.

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Amie's headteacher, Tim Moralee
    "Difficult to get at the facts"
    The BBC's Sue Littlemore
    "Many parents believe disruptive pupils should be expelled but for schools, it is not so simple"
    Gaby Shenton of Kidscape
    "Totally inappropriate response"
    See also:

    17 Feb 00 | Education
    Bullying: Schools' duty to act
    04 Jan 00 | Education
    Heads urged to tackle bullies
    20 Dec 99 | Education
    UK pupils bigger bullies than Germans
    14 Dec 99 | Education
    'Bullies are healthiest pupils'
    01 Nov 99 | Education
    Bullying victim paid 6,000 by council
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